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In Memoriam 2015

January 1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82). 1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82). 2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up ...

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The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his ...

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Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let's not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With ...

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Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map ... barely

I've written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here. Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km ...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted ...

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Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

You know, I was minding my own business in this classy Chinese restaurant, engorging myself on their copious buffet, had my fill, and was handed the bill with an accompanying fortune cookie. This fortune cookie (the one to the left) really existed, and I never saw ...

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Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Maple is a robust math environment which can graph, solve equations, and solve for the unknown with the aid of its computer algebra solver (CAS), which is capable of computing exact roots of cubic functions, for example. I wanted to demonstrate for myself that Maple could ...

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Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Recently, I've been hit (my website that is) by someone possibly checking his plethora of links from his/her website, and when I back-traced it, I find this cool blog which acts as a convincing historical shrine to the late great 1050 CHUM Radio in Toronto. ...

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The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it? I face a number of obstacles, being a ...

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Today’s weather: Frantic!

I just want to go over some of the phrases I have heard to describe weather. So far, we have heard of

  • thunder snow
  • polar vortex
  • bombogenesis
  • derechoes
  • meteotsunami

Of course, this is in addition to those boring old hurricanes, avalanches, whiteouts, monsoons and tornadoes, which are so “old school” that perhaps nobody cares anymore. And now meteorologiests have invented something else for us to worry about:

  • bomb cyclone

I swear they must pay someone to sit in a back room somewhere to create some way to sensationalize the weather with invented terminology. The fact is, it is enough that tornadoes alone this year have given us much to worry about along the redneck rivera states (a new term I am expanding on to include Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi — states along the Gulf of Mexico — here is the “known” definition) and other states in the Southern United States. So have droughts, which led to the forest fires all along the west coast of North America, from southern California to British Columbia.

I am aware that these extreme weather conditions are a part of global warming, and I am not going to deny that. I am against inventing new terms when perfectly good ones exist. Using existing terms, along with some kind of quantification (like wind speed, air pressure, temperature, wind chill, and so on) gives us a way to compare these weather events with earlier ones so that we can make up our own minds. Giving things a unique name obscures any attempt at comparison, which I think results in disinforming the public rather than informing them.

 

 

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In Memoriam December, 2017

There are a lot of notable people who have passed away this year, but I think I got sidetracked on the ones that have died just this month. Here are some of the people whose lives I have found most interesting, alphabetized by first name:

Ákos Császár.

Hungarian topologist and discoverer of the toroidal polyhedron that bears his name, was given much recognition of his achievements over the years, passed away at age 93.

Alexander Harvey II

An officer during World War II, Alexander became senator, then nominated as federal judge by then-president Lyndon Johnson. Died at age 94.

Bernard Sherman

Founder of Canadian generic drug company Apotex Pharmaceuticals. The billionaire drug manufacturer and his wife Honey were found dead at their home. The deaths are being treated as “suspicious”, although there appeared to be no obvious evidence of a break-in. Bernard was the 12th wealthiest Canadian, worth some 3.5 billion dollars. Honey Sherman was 70, while Bernard was 75.

Bruce Gray

Played Adam Cunningham in the Canadian drama series Traders. He was in Star Trek; he was in soap operas such as The Edge of Night and All My Children. But he is most famous for playing the father of the groom Rodney Miller in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

 

 

 

Carolyn Cohen

A Long Isand-born professor emeritus from Brandeis University who did research into motor proteins. Those are the kind of proteins that turn chemical energy into mechanical work. Examples are proteins that drive flagellum in single-celled organisms. Motor proteins also help conduct cell division in all of our cells. She was 88.

Clifford Irving

An investigative reporter who got caught writing a fake autobiography about the late Howard Hughes. While the controversy was very public and the charade quite compelling, the fake autobiography was never published. The hoax was uncovered over phonecalls from Hughes himself to the few people left who knew the voice of this reclusive billionaire. After his trial, conviction and release from prison, Irving continued to write various books to what appears to have been a forgiving audience. All of his papers, memoirs, and even journal entries while serving in prison have now been made publically available in the years since.  He was 87.

Dominic Frontiere

Composed theme music for The Outer Limits, and The Flying Nun. He also composed for movies such as Hang ‘Em High. However, he was in trouble legally because he had also scalped tickets for the 1980 Super Bowl on a fairly large scale and then failed to report the proceeds to the IRS. He was 86.

Ed Lee

First Asian-American mayor of San Francisco, elected in 2011 and served until his death at age 65.

Felix “Fil” Fraser

Fil Fraser

Montreal-born broadcaster, was a radio announcer in seemingly all parts of Canada, including Toronto and his native Montreal. He was 85.

Gerald B. Greenberg

Film editor involved in blockbuster films such as The French ConnectionApocalypse Now, and Scarface. He was 81.

Gerald Tulchinsky

Historian of Canadian Jewry, died at age 84.

Harold Levine

American mathematician who studied wave motion. He enjoyed sailing, and was remmebered as being well-dressed, deeply cultured, and open-minded about science and math ideas. He was 95.

Jack Felder

American Biochemist, known for his studies in germ warfare with the American military. Also wrote several books on Americana, un-related to biochemistry. He was 78.

James Thompson

James Robert Thompson, founding chair of the stats department at Rice University in Houston. Known for his sage advice to his doctoral students, and involvement in military defence, he is survived by his wife Ewa Thompson, also an emeritus professor of Slavic Studies. James was 79.

 

 

 

Jan-Erik Roos

Roos was a math professor from the University of Stockholm in Sweden, who was one of the few who seemed to make it to the status of math professor without a whole lot of formal math training beyond high school. He was 82.

Janet Elder

News editor at the New York Times, known for her humanity and adaptability in adverse situation involving the reporters under her watch who were given assignments overseas. She succumbed to cancer at age 61.

John Oberlander

Specialized in computer studies, and getting computers to talk and write like people, and by extension, adapting to end users. Passed away suddently at age 55.

June Rowlands

First female mayor of Toronto, starting in 1991. There is a public park in the Davisville neighbourhood named after her. She died at age 93.

Keely Smith

Iconic jazz singer who is best known for singing tunes such as: “That Old Black Magic”, “I Got You Under My Skin”, and “Bel Mir Bist Du Schoen”, and recording on dozens of albums over 5 decades, died at age 89.

Marvin Greenberg

Founding chair of the math department at the University of California at Santa Cruz whgo published his lectures on topology. He was 81.

Pam Warren

Otherwise known as Pam the Funkstress, was prominent on the San Francisco Bay Area Hip Hop scene. She died of organ failure at age 51, following an attempted transplant.

Pat DiNizio

Pat Dinizio

The lead singer and songwriter of the American band The Smithereens, had succumbed to numerous health issues and injuries over recent years, and has died at age 62.

Patrick Henry

A murderer in France, whose life imprisonment was instrumental in events leading to the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981. He died at age 64 of lung cancer.

 

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Catherine McKenna taking things personally

Tweet Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna entered a heated exchange yesterday with a right-wing nobody from a far right-wing website which nobody reads that I can’t bother to look up the name of. This happened in Vancouver in front of a small scrum of journalists which included more recognizable outlets such as the CBC, CTV, and […] […]

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The ABCs of auto-complete

Tweet Filling out “What is _____”? The rule is: write a word or two about the first topic I see from the autocomplete dropdown. Antifa: antifa=”anti fascist” Bitcoin: (I swear, I am just following the first thing I see!) an alternate currency used to purchase items online. (blockchain, a term related to bitcoin, came in third) climate change: Big topic. […] […]

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Storms never last, … or do they?

Tweet Various ISPs have prevented the hate blog “Daily Stormer”, widely described as a “sewer of humanity”, from passing through their routers, or at least slowed it down. I applaud this move, despite the American’s love of free speech. Americans have free press, but as the cynical adage goes: free press belongs to those who own […] […]

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A list of state slogans

Tweet From the responses to Chris Cillizza’s request on Twitter (@CillizzaCNN) that people submit their own state motto. Fair use, since none of these were authored by Chris Cillizza, but submitted by the general public. Alabama: first in football, but last in everything else. Alaska: Worst deal in history. Give it back to Russia! Arizona: Sunny, With Sucky […] […]

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The most annoying sound on radio

Tweet Why do jewellery commercials have to be so tasteless and annoying? I single out jewellery commericals, since they are more annoying even then furniture commercials, their main competitor for the gold standard of tastelessness. But no. We have sharpers like Russell Oliver, and others who will go on TV and radio and in the most garish […] […]

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In youtube: 100 worst _____ (using auto-complete)

Tweet 100 worst … youtube channels There are thousands of “worst channels” all tied for last place, if it must have definition. Channels with no videos or playlists Channels with no videos but no original content Channels that slander or promote racial bias or hatred Channels that are advertising, disguised as entertainment or information … pick up lines That might be a worthwhile […] […]

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Commentary

Tweet These are some rambling thoughts on things I have found lying around on YouTube and other locations. My jazz station plays too many jazz covers of hit songs. If I wanted to hear Woodstock, I would tune into an oldies station to hear the original. Americans are being offered Tim Horton’s Poutine doughnuts. Yuck. My biggest worry […] […]

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Trump is alright, except …

Tweet From several news sources, we’ve heard that the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts (home to both Harvard and MIT), has voted nearly unanimously to call for an impeachment to Donald Trump. One article from here gives a synopsis of the event. I chose this website because of one awesome commentator who only goes by the name […] […]

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You know it’s April 1st when …

Tweet The news cycle is replete with bogus stories: Trump appoints Ivanka to head anti-nepotism task force. ‘Trump has decided gravity is not real’, says Sean Spicer, while clearly suspended by wires. “Putting Shakespeare to Rap music helps students revise”, say leading educators. World’s Largest aircraft APR001 to house a swimming pool, gym, and park. Ask Google Gnome what to feed […] […]

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The Future of Trump Parodies

Tweet Humor can be a place where we celebrate what we as a human race value: honesty, love, safety, racial equality, fairness, peacefulness. We usually do this by poking fun at the times when any of these values are violated by public figures such as world leaders or celebrities. Usually these violations happen once or twice, […] […]

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The Government is telling me who I am: The voting Survey: a lesson in sampling bias part III

Tweet As a response for participating in the survey, I finally know who I am, because the government told me so. Apparently I am a pragmatist. In an earlier one of these online surveys, I was someone on the loony left. These labels are, on some level, amusing. It’s kind of like reading a Horoscope characterization […] […]

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The voting Survey: a lesson in sampling bias part II

Tweet So far, in the last post, I had revealed an example of sampling bias as being the fact that the questions only hint at particular alternative voting systems without coming out and suggesting one and how it has been implemented elsewhere, so that a more intelligent response to the questionnaire could be made possible. A […] […]

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In Memoriam, 2016

Tweet What a year. A lot of really well-liked musicians and entertainers have shuffled off this mortal coil. Indeed, it was a depressing year for celebrity deaths, and increased global warming and Trump winning the election didn’t help things. We witness the cosmically interconnected deaths of multiple people within the same sitcom; both Carrie Fisher (Princess […] […]

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The voting survey: a lesson in sampling bias

Tweet Our feds came up with a survey that had some useful questions in it, but also had some questions that gave the overall impression of how they wanted the questions answered. They are asking me to agree or disagree with statements that have not been discussed a whole lot in the media, and really require […] […]

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Hillary Pilloried

Tweet We should see more headlines like this. This past day’s election should have been Hillary’s to lose, not Trump’s to win. But this is what it has become. In the media, it was always about Donald. Donald says something outrageous, then the media and the world react, like a Greek chorus. Hillary, singing alto, would be […] […]

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As I have said elsewhere …

Tweet I have been saying for the past six months that the coverage of Donald Trump has the effect of support for the Republican presidential candidate. Other events also contributed, most notably the coronation of Trump which constituted the whole Republican convention from start to finish. The mediocre crop of candidates surrounding Trump did not want […] […]

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OOC 013: Folkies and Rockers

Tweet Bruce Cockburn tried to stay back-to-the-land (and later political) in his music and public image for as long as he could. Born and raised in Ottawa, he has been penning songs for over 30 years along many themes, including religion, third world politics, love, friendship, and much more. Apart from getting his Order of Canada in […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 013: She’s a little bit country, and he’s a little bit rock and roll

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